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Piano Jazz

All things Piano Jazz, An interesting listing of whats on the web concerning Jazz Piano.



Stride:  PianoStride, Harlem Stride Piano, or Stride Piano, is a jazz piano style that evolved partially from ragtime.

The idea of using the alternating left hand pattern typical of ragtime as a foundation over which new melodies could be improvised is the basis of the style known as stride piano. The stride pianist for the most part makes more liberal use of blues harmonies in his music than the ragtime composer.  Famous stride pianists include: James P. Johnson ,Fats Waller , and Willie “The Lion” Smith.


The origin of the term boogie-woogie is not known, according to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the word is a redoubling of boogie, which had been used for rent parties as early as 1913. Blues historian Robert Palmer wrote that the boogie-woogie style bass pattern was probably created in the logging and turpentine camps and oil boomtowns of Texas, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Delta in the early 1900’s.

This style of piano jazz became popular in the 1920’s, a repeating left hand pattern is used, but rather than the alternating bass notes and chords of stride, it uses a pattern that establishes the chord as well as bass function within one line. Boogie-woogie was often based on blues forms. Important boogie-woogie pianists include: Meade “Lux” Lewis, Pinetop Smith, Jimmy Yancey, Albert Ammons, and Pete Johnson.

Other Styles

In all of these styles, pianists generally played lines that included full chords in their right hand. It was the pianist Earl Hines who pioneered the technique that is now standard for jazz pianists – playing single-note melodic figures in the right hand, like a horn player would:

Two other pianists worthy of special mention are Mary Lou Williams and Art Tatum. Williams began her career playing traditional jazz, but in a way that is considered particularly modern. She became a major influence on the young pianists of the bebop generation, and she continued to develop her style throughout her very long career.

Art Tatum was primarily a stride pianist, but he was a musician of such fantastic technique and harmonic invention that he has influenced countless pianists and other musicians of every generation.

Categories: Jazz Music Tags: , ,
  1. villabourani
    February 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    A new album from Mehldau!


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